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SPPH students Celestin Hategeka and Mohammad Karamouzian win Vanier scholarships

Jun 01, 2017 |

School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) students Celestin Hategeka and Mohammad Karamouzian have been awarded Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships.

Valued at $50,000 per year for three years, the awards are based on three criteria: academic excellence, research potential, and leadership.

Doctoral student Celestin Hategeka said he felt honoured, proud and grateful to have been awarded the Scholarship, which would afford him the opportunity to dedicate time and energy to his research. “I also feel incredibly grateful to my mentors and peers whose support cannot be overemphasized.”

His research project, ‘Improving quality of emergency care for newborns and children in Rwanda’, will evaluate the impact of an intervention to improve hospital care for severely ill babies and children in Rwanda, called ‘Emergency, Triage, Assessment and Treatment PLUS admission care’, or ETAT+.

“I hope my doctoral research will contribute to improving quality of emergency care provided to newborns and children in resource-limited settings like Rwanda.”
Vanier winner Celestin Hategeka

Master of Science (MSc) graduate Mohammad Karamouzian will start his PhD in September. His research project is titled ‘Early injecting careers: Implications for health, risk behaviours and clinical care’, and will focus on youth who use substances, and intervention points and strategies to reduce harm.

Celestin Hategeka and Mohammad Karamouzian

Vanier winners Celestin Hategeka and Mohammad Karamouzian

He said winning the award made him feel like he was on the right track, and came with a sense of responsibility, to live up to the expectations of a Vanier scholar. Mr Karamouzian said in the future, he hoped to lead by perfecting the necessary research methods in his PhD, and learning to ask the right questions in the right way.

“I feel like it’s payback to all your mentors for the time and support they have dedicated to your professional and personal development.”
Vanier winner Mohammad Karamouzian

Dr Hategeka’s MSc co-supervisor Professor Jean Shoveller said in her letter of support that during her first meeting with Dr Hategeka, she realized he was “destined for great things.”

He had an exceptionally strong academic record, demonstrated by a number of awards including a 2016-17 Public Scholars Initiative award, and had demonstrated his promise as a leader in his field, she said.

“Given his drive, his connections in Rwanda, and his true brilliance, I have gone on the record predicting that one day he will be the Minister of Health in Rwanda.”
Dr Hategeka’s MSc co-supervisor Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Professor Larry Lynd

Doctoral supervisor Associate Professor Michael Law said Dr Hategeka’s area of study was vitally important, given the unacceptably high levels of illness and mortality of sick infants in Rwanda, and his results would inform the design of better approaches to treatment across the region.

Dr Shoveller also supervised Mr Karamouzian along with Department of Medicine Associate Professor Thomas Kerr, and said in her letter that he too had won a number of awards including the Faculty of Medicine Graduate award. He and his colleagues had worked on sensitive issues in Iran, and conducted research pertaining to HIV, injection drug use, and sex work, requiring dedication and personal risk, she said.

“Mohammad continues to make significant contributions to knowledge and action in these important areas.”
Professor Jean Shoveller

Dr. Kerr said in his letter that Mr Karamouzian was one of the most accomplished and well-prepared young academics he had ever worked with. “I fully expect him to continue to make significant contributions through his research.”

Professor Jane Buxton will be Mr Karamouzian’s PhD supervisor, along with Dr. Kerr, and said he had impressed her during his Master’s examination.

“I can see him making a difference – he’s got passion and drive.”
Professor Jane Buxton

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